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Protecting Afghan civilians remains NATO's top priority: spokesman

English.news.cn   2012-06-18 19:07:14            

KABUL, June 18 (Xinhua) -- The protection of Afghan civilians during military operations against Taliban and other insurgents remains the prime responsibility of NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), the alliance spokesman said here Monday.

"Actually, we are doing everything we can, we have done so far and will do so in the future to protect the innocent population of Afghanistan," the ISAF spokes Brigadier General Carsten Jacobson told reporters in an ISAF weekly press conference.

He made the comments after an air attack on June 6 against a compound, where a wedding ceremony was underway, in eastern Afghan province of Logar. A total of 18 civilians lost their lives while a number of Taliban insurgents were killed.

He blamed the Taliban for using civilian properties to target security forces.

The coalition forces have conducted over 1,300 close air support engagements during which 32 civilian compounds were damaged and five incidents of civilian casualties were confirmed, according to an ISAF statement.

The civilian casualties have increased for a fifth successive year as a total of 3,021 Afghan civilians were killed in 2011, up by 8 percent over the same period of 2010, according to a United Nations annual report released in Kabul on Feb. 4.

The UN report attributed 77 percent of the civilian deaths last year to the attacks of Taliban insurgents and other armed groups opposing the Afghan government.

Another 14 percent of the deaths were attributed to Afghan and NATO-led forces and 9 percent were unattributed.

A total o f 187 civilians were killed by NATO aerial attacks in 2011, the report said.

Special Report: Afghanistan Situation


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